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Posts tagged 'japan'

​Exploring the Green Teas of Japan

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 7 months ago 6429 Views No comments

Konichiwa!

You could say our team here at Heavenly Tea Leaves has a thing for Japanese culture, and of course, Japanese tea. Japan is a country that is revered for its ancient history, rich traditions, and pride in quality and care for every product they grow or create. Because among our team members we've visited Japan a number of times, we've developed a special interest in all types of teas from this Pacific nation--and we don't just mean matcha!

Originally sought after as medicine, tea was first brought to Japan by Chinese monks in the 8th century and was first consumed by the upper class (Samurai) and priests in Japan. The archipelago proved to have the right climate and terrain for growing tea; to this day, tea is cultivated in almost all regions of the country. Access to tea by the greater public did not come around until the Middle Ages. Influenced by Zen Buddhism, the Japanese tea ceremony (known as chanoyu or chado) developed as a unique practice with its own specialty teas and clean esthetics.

Japan focuses mostly on green tea, which serves the benefit of lively and deep flavor, a plethora of healthy properties, and a steady stream of energy. Not all Japanese green teas are made the same, however. Here, we will take a closer look at the various tea types, both popular and rare, that you'll need to add to your South Pacific tea repertoire!


We always love to start off with a bang; in this case, that bang is a cup of rejuvenating Gyokuro green tea. Gyokuro is a green tea for those looking for umami flavor (perfect for the AM hours). Thanks to a unique processing method at the final stages of this tea plant's growth, it is shaded, leading to a higher chlorophyll content than the typical green tea, as well as a deep, rich green color and grassy, vegetal flavor.

For a nuttier variation, try Genmaicha Japan. Also a green tea, this one is known as the "people's tea" in Japan because it was economical to include toasted rice in the home blend; this tea doubles down on your umami senses thanks to the presence of popcorn and fire-roasted rice alongside a classic, rich green tea. The result? A party in your mouth that won't be ending any time soon.

Sometimes, though, we like to climb the green tea ladder. One of the more lavish Japanese tea experiences you can have is with our Kukicha. What makes this one special is that it contains stems and stalks left over from sencha and matcha tea production, so it utilizes the entire plant. Once considered peasant's tea, this variety is now known as a delicacy in Japan because of its natural sweetness and laundry list of health benefits.

Looking for yet another Japanese green? Our well-rounded Zen Super Green is the answer for those looking for the consistency of regular tea but the potency of matcha (which in turn is made from first-flush spring Gyokuro). This blend of organic sencha and matcha green tea powder is the perfect balance between strong and delicate and finishes with a velvety, umami, vegetal mouthfeel. Be careful not to brew this and other delicate green teas at higher than 170 degrees, as you may burn the tea and extract unwanted bitterness!

As you may know, we're total matcha lovers. In fact, we've written an ode to matcha already--check it out! Matcha is a fine green tea powder that's super-concentrated in flavor, texture, and health benefits. It's made by simply whisking the powder into boiling water (and perhaps adding frothed milk and sugar if you're going for a matcha latte!). Our ceremonial-grade 30-gram matcha tin contains hand-picked and stone-ground green tea and come ready to brew. In honor of spring, and of japanese green teas, you can find our 30g Matcha green tea tin on sale for $17.99 (normally $24.99) for a limited time!

Sencha Miyazaki, a delightful lighter tea, and Hojicha, which has a distinct roasted taste, are other signature Japanese blends carried by Heavenly Tea Leaves. So, what's the conclusion? Japan is definitely a tea destination worth learning about (and visiting), and its green teas are quite varied and totally spectacular. Japan's rich and detail-oriented culture shines brightly through their ability to manufacture some of the world's most premium green teas. Which one will you get your hands on this spring?

Arigato!


P.S. Stay tuned to our Instagram page (@heavenlytea) for some photos of our latest trip to the majestic tea fields of Wazuka, Japan!

The Wonders of Green Tea: Everything You Need To Know

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 3 years ago 17081 Views 1 comment

When it comes to wellness, you can't go wrong with a cup of green tea. Year after year, studies emerge suggesting that this drink, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, have some serious superpowers. Drinking green tea has been clinically shown to help with everything from cholesterol and weight management to bone health and even free radical delay. (It is thought that free radical proteins in the brain are what lead to diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.)

Wellbeing of the mind and body starts with daily habits. Incorporating a couple of servings of green tea in your everyday regimen can make you start feeling healthier and more vibrant almost immediately. If you're already a heavy coffee drinker and concerned about your caffeine intake, try replacing one of your coffees with green tea. This is a clean alternative at a comparable price and with an awakening result. Why not experiment?

The benefits of green tea seem endless; studies have been conducted for years and scientists continue to examine its role in supporting a balanced lifestyle. A recent Today Show segment dubbed green tea a superfood, rating it an amazing 4 on a 1-5 scale. The hosts pointed out that catechins (EGCG), a type of antioxidant found in green tea, have been shown to 'relax blood vessels' and therefore ease blood pressure. Plus, increased blood flow to the brain means improved overall brain and body function. This is based on just two cups a day!

And then there's the taste. Green tea differs from other teas in its grassy, herbal, earthy flavor profile. It is also unique in that, when mixed with other flavors, it yields a whole new, complex profile that is very different from, say, a black or white–plus herbal concoction. Green tea is far from muted or neutral. Though calming, its taste is distinct and bold. It's a beverage that will make you pause to enjoy each sip. When combined with a drop of honey, it's simply divine.

What most people are surprised to learn is that all green teas come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. The processing will make each of these nine distinct types of green tea from Japan different from one another. Elements such as what part of the plant is used, whether the plant is mostly exposed to shade or sun, when the leaf is picked, and how the tea is exposed to heat will affect the taste and characteristic of the tea. Japanese green teas including Gyokuro are very well know for having a mild, sweet, vegetal flavor.

The other famous tea nation – China – has been cultivating tea trees for more than 2,000 years, incorporating it into medicine and cultural practices that remain engrained in the society today. While China grows all types of tea, some of the most famous green teas are Dragonwell, Bi Luo Chun, Chun Mee, Mao Jian.

Of all the green tea varieties and blends to choose from, each has a new character, but all contain the same essential benefits.

To focus the spotlight on green tea's calming properties and richness of flavor, try out Zen Super Green from Kagoshima, Japan. This is a mixture of high-grade sencha tea with its powdered, concentrated cousin, matcha. The combination results in a velvety, umami taste as a result of farming methods that delay the matcha plant growth.

Finally, we suggest another premium grade green tea that provides the energy boost that the beverage is famous for. Mao Feng is a single bud variety grown at high altitudes in the tea-specializing region of Hunan, China. With a well-rounded, straightforward flavor, you can drink this tea with breakfast to cleanse your palette and perk you up for the day!

Once you choose the green tea of your liking, you can bask in some more of its unexpected upsides, like its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Jazz up your cup with other superfoods like fresh ginger, or add a natural sweetener like agave to mitigate a strong herbaceous flavor.

Which green tea adventure awaits you?